It was only 18 years ago that the first graphic web browser, Mosaic, was created. Even in those early phases, the web remained largely focused on providing only one format: text. For April Fool’s, the Google Chrome team put together a Chrome extension that would allow users to go back to the way the web once was.
The Chrome team states that their inspiration came from an in-company race between the browsers, where various parts of the Web were loaded in IE9, Firefox 4, Chrome 10, and a number of less common browsers. It was one of these browsers, Lynx, that won. Lynx managed to hit the fastest times since it removes many of the modern elements of web browsing, including but not limited to audio, video, images, font formatting, and color. While it’s not clear whether the race story is true, the idea certainly applies to the ChromeLite browser extension.
When enabled, this extension (which, yes, you really can download and use) removes every bit of media and contrast from your page, making load times as fast as physically possible. But the Chrome team has thought of even the possible pitfalls, providing you a new form of media – through text-based, ASCII, pictures – in place of any media that would normally be on the page.
Further, Google lets users know that they won’t have to worry about a number of other hassles, such as installing media codecs and plugins, thanks to the fact that the media and content associated with them simply won’t be a part of the ChromeLite web experience. And those concerned with security have good news too: Since color, a “popular attack surface” for “targeted exploits,” is being cut from the internet experience, those using the ChromeLite extension will be browsing the Web in a way that’s not just faster but safer too.
[via the Chromium Blog]